Slow Travel to the Gilis in Indonesia

 

The Three Gili’s, Indonesia

  Thanks to Dave’s Travel Corner for publishing my article on Slow Travel to Gili Meno. It begins like this:

Sometimes traveling slowly can be more enjoyable than the “preferred,” faster transportation. During our return trip to Gili (a series of islands located just off the northwest tip of Lombok, Indonesia) we meandered rather than take the Gili Cat, a brand new speed boat. We had more time to meet people and ultimately arrived in the Gili’s after several days in Senggigi.

Gili T seems so different compared to our time here in 2008. Is that why they say, “You can never go back?” I wish infrastructure would develop without compromising beauty, the coral and the shoreline. Last time we traveled in Southeast Asia we did not arrive until September which is after the “high” season. I remember all the coastlines being quiet, as most tourists had returned to school from their holidays.

READ the FULL article here!

 

OCTOBER 14, 2012 BY LISA ELLEN NIVER

Sometimes traveling slowly can be more enjoyable than the “preferred”, faster transportation. During our return trip to Gili (a series of islands located just off the northwest tip of Lombok, Indonesia) we meandered rather than take the Gili Cat, a brand new speed boat. We had more time to meet people and ultimately arrived in the Gili’s after several days in Senggigi.

Gili T seems so different compared to our time here in 2008. Is that why they say, “You can never go back?” I wish infrastructure would develop without compromising beauty, the coral and the shoreline. Last time we traveled in Southeast Asia we did not arrive until September which is after the “high” season. I remember all the coastlines being quiet, as most tourists had returned to school from their holidays.

We left Gili T by public boat for 20,000Rp ($2/each) and in about fifteen minutes arrived at Gili Meno. A bustling scene greeted us – tourists arriving, locals awaiting. After a few key questions, we set off by foot on the trail to the sunset side of the island. I was told the walk would take 40 minutes. Upon encountering a fork in the road we stopped, puzzled as to which direction to take. A little girl stood nearby. “Panta? (beach) … Sunset, Gekko?” She pointed both ways. It is an island, she was telling us. I said, “Bagus? Indah?” (More better? Pretty?) She pointed and said, “Sunset Gekko.” So we went to the left. I felt like the instructions were on the order of: “turn left at the coconut tree, then right at the coconut tree and when you hit the water, you are there.”

Already, the snorkeling was much better than what we saw at Gili T. Immediately we counted two turtles, several schools of fish, and many colorful hard and soft corals. I also saw a lobster. I called to George to make sure he saw it as in hundreds of snorkeling excursions and over 300 dives I had never seen one wander about so much and have such a colorful look. Later that day during sunset, I saw dolphins jumping and spinning. What a great day! The next day, we snorkeled and walked the entire island. I told George at dinner, “What a great two days! We saw turtles, dolphins and volcanoes in the distance at sunset.”

We Be Cafe has phenomenal cap cai (stir fried vegetable Indonesian dish); the best of the whole trip so far! We chatted with the owner who also has We Be Cottages on the other side of the island and is related to the owner of our guest house, Gili Garden.

We bought fruit on both days from a woman named Sophie. For twenty years she has been selling fruit, doing manicures and pedicures, as well as doing laundry for guests. She has an eight year-old son and a seven month-old baby. The first fruit she cut for us was mango; she was able to create a holder as well as a way to eat this fruit by hand, sans utensils. I loved the way she cut the pineapple for us – I called her a “fruit artist”. Tonight we had a fresh coconut. I owed her 15000 for the coconut but only had a 50000rp note ($5usd). She could not get change so tomorrow she will pay us the change in fruit.

Mr. We Be Cottages chatted with us about the coral. Twenty years ago you could see the coral from the sand as it was so healthy and so plentiful. He said that the locals are waiting for the government to assist with the installation of moorings for the boats, so setting anchors will no longer damage the coral. We talked about how the coral at Gili T is mostly dead and the turtles are nearly gone. He said they know their own reef is dying as well as the one at Gili Meno; they want to save both. He said the government is going to make protected areas; we can only hope the hour is not already too late.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.5 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”

2 responses to “Slow Travel to the Gilis in Indonesia

  1. I can imagine how much the Islands have changed since 2008. I had my fist visit to the Gili Islands about 18 months ago and a lot has changed within that short period, especially on Gili Trawangan.

    I recently spend some time on Nusa Lembongan and imagine that is a little bit like the Gili Islands was some years ago.

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